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5 Surprisingly Healthy Holiday Foods—And 2 You Should Avoid

5 Surprisingly Healthy Holiday Foods—And 2 You Should Avoid

It’s what we do with these foods during the holidays that give them a bad rap.

When most people think about the holidays, their minds go straight to food-and all the guilt from indulging that seems destined to go with it. While there are plenty of unhealthy dishes to fill your holiday table with this season, you can still enjoy a festive meal with these six nutrient-rich foods.

Cocoa

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Dark chocolate has shown to be a healthful part of a balanced diet, as it is full of antioxidants and can even reduce physical and emotional stress in the body. These benefits also are attributed to minimally-processed cocoa powder, meaning a cup of hot cocoa can be healthier than expected. Reduce the sugar, replacing some with aromatic spices, and choose a healthy milk for a cozy, indulgent drink you can feel good about. Cocoa can also be a heart-healthy addition to your morning cup of coffee.

Gingerbread

We are not talking about a heavily-iced gingerbread person here, but rather a more wholesome baked good. Ginger and molasses both have a host of benefits, as ginger is an anti-inflammatory and beneficial for digestion, while molasses is rich in many vitamins and minerals. Gingerbread is often lower in sugar and fat than many other holiday goodies, making it a dessert option you can feel good about eating.

Keeping healthier holiday goodies like gingerbread out during the holidays, instead of more sugar and fat-laden treats, will still satisfy your sweet craving and remain festive without packing too big a punch all month long.

Potatoes

The humble potato is a simple, yet hotly-debated tuber. Research shows potatoes are an excellent part of a balanced diet depending on how you cook them. One potato has four grams of fiber, energizing carbs, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Fried varieties and even baked versions topped with butter and high-fat dairy should be avoided to best enjoy the spud’s full health potential. Studies have shown we crave more carbs in the winter, and potatoes are no exception. Comforting dishes like shepherd’s pie, potato latkes, and mashed potatoes are festive staples in the winter month.

Cranberries

Cranberry sauce can often be a sugar bomb of a side dish, but the fruit itself is actually lower in sugar than many others. This tart berry is full of fiber and antioxidants and has shown to be a beneficial part of a woman’s diet. Try a lower-sugar version of cranberry sauce this year, or change it up completely by turning it into a savory-sweet condiment.

Popcorn

Popcorn is far from being considered a “superfood,” but it still makes for a festive yet healthy snack. Popcorn is full of fiber and low in calories, making its large serving size seem indulgent without breaking your diet. Forgo gifting or grazing the massive tins of sugar-laden and additive-dusted varieties and go with a homemade treat or one of our top pre-packaged picks.

Holiday Foods to Avoid:

Honey-Baked Ham

While a honey-baked ham is a favorite main dish during the holidays, research continues to show ham and processed meat consumption increases your risk for cancer. Opting for a leaner, more heart-healthy option, like roasted chicken or baked fish, can help keep inflammation and reflux at bay this holiday.

Eggnog

Photo by LauriPatterson via Getty Images

Classic store-bought and homemade recipes for eggnog are loaded with fat, cholesterol, and sugar, making it a drink you want to save for for a very special occasion. One serving of eggnog can be up to 350 calories! However, all is not lost. There are many lower-fat and plant-based varieties out there, including an Almond Nog from Trader Joe’s with a pretty impressive nutritional profile compared to the traditional store-bought versions. However, if you are looking for a homemade option, our healthier vegan eggnog is only 92 calories and is made with healthy ingredients for a sweet treat that is good for you too! We also have several winter cocktails if you want to ditch the ‘nog altogether.


5 Surprisingly Healthy Holiday Foods—And 2 You Should Avoid - Recipes

Have you ever had a cold, and instead of turning to a bottle of cold medicine or some ibuprofen, you ate a clove of garlic or drank a cup of ginger tea?

Natural remedies like these have been around for thousands of years and have been utilized around the world.

Allopathic medicine has achieved many lifesaving and pain-reducing breakthroughs over the last couple hundred years (including anesthesia, modern surgical techniques, and antibiotics). But it’s lost sight of the effectiveness of many natural treatments. Trained by pharmaceutical companies, doctors now prescribe pills instead of the plants whose healing properties often inspired the drugs in the first place.

While the manufactured drugs are often far more potent than the plants from which their active ingredients were identified, many also come with significant costs. These can include a dizzying array of side effects, decreased effectiveness over time, and the potential to cause debilitating dependency (like the opioid crisis).

As the limitations of pharmaceuticals become increasingly apparent, more and more people are turning to natural medicine as a resource to alleviate their pain and help them achieve healing.

Since 2007, approximately 38% of adults and 12% of children in the United States have used some form of natural medicine. And the rates of complementary and alternative medicine are even higher in Southeast Asia, where many natural medicine modalities originated.

But what exactly is natural medicine?


5 year old: "Mommy, how are Cheerios made?"

You: "Well, the ingredient list says. oh. um. I'm not sure what some of these are. Here's my guess.

  1. They take the oats, blend them up.
  2. Add some corn starch (which started as corn and then they do a bunch of stuff to it to get just the starch out).
  3. Then they add some preservatives. Which, I'm not sure how they're made.
  4. Add some sugar and salt, vitamins and minerals.
  5. And then they somehow bake them in a factory into these cute little circles that end up in your cereal bowl."

Verdict: CHEERIOS are highly PROCESSED


25 Foods That Seem Vegetarian But Aren’t

I started this post over two years ago (yep, two years!), and cursed myself for not yet finishing and publishing it when the lovely Domestic Fits shared Ten Weird Things That Are Not Vegetarian a few months back. Curse me and my laziness! But yesterday, when I picked up a tin of Altoids in the check-out line to read the ingredients and was shocked to see gelatin on the list, I was reminded of this post draft. And I decided it was time to finish it up and hit the “publish” button.

In my very first post on Kitchen Treaty, I shared my very first “gotcha” food after I became a vegetarian: French Onion Soup. I had no earthly clue its primary ingredient, aside from onions, was beef broth. Whoops.

Since then, I’ve been lulled into a false sense of meatlessness when a food that seems vegetarian turns out not to be. Meat and animal products are hidden everywhere! So I thought I’d share several “gotcha” foods that I’ve discovered are not vegetarian over the years.

Note that it can be easy to blur the lines between vegetarian and vegan when it comes to this conversation. For this list I define a non-vegetarian food as one containing meat or fish products (like bacon or anchovies) or one that has an ingredient directly derived from animal parts (gelatin=animal bones and lard=animal fat).

  1. Worcestershire sauce – it’s got anchovies in it. Thankfully, Annie’s Naturals makes a great vegan version.
  2. Olive tapenade – it was a sad day when I realized delicious tapenade often has anchovies in it.
  3. Caesar salad – more dastardly salty little fish! Caesar salad traditionally features anchovies in its dressing. I like this version with a veggie-friendly kalamata olive dressing.
  4. Pasta puttanesca – delicious capers, olives, tomatoes … and anchovies! Nooo! This roasted vegetarian pasta puttanesca sauce, on the other hand, is a keeper.
  5. French onion soup – yep, my very first pitfall as a vegetarian. I thought it was, you know, onion soup – I mean, sounds vegetarian, right? Of course, french onion soup is traditionally made with beef broth, and unless you make your own, you’re probably not going to find a vegetarian version easily.
  6. Vegetable soups – most seasoned vegetarians learn the hard way that the delicious-sounding cream of broccoli soup on that restaurant menu sounds vegetarian (it’s a broccoli soup!), but oftentimes it’s been made with chicken broth.
  7. Stuffing. I can’t decide if this is an obvious one or not, but I’ll throw it in. Many Thanksgiving dressing recipes have broth in them – usually chicken broth. And then, of course, there’s the more obvious and popular meaty addition – sausage. Here’s a veggie version I love.
  8. Jell-O – it’s got gelatin in it. Gelatin is made of various animal products (skin, hooves, bones, yeah). And it lurks in a lot of things. Jell-O is an obvious one, sure, but what about …
  9. Yep, Altoids. I admit – I’ve been eating Altoids all along. But they have gelatin! Whoops.
  10. Non-fat yogurt – many have gelatin to help retain a yogurty texture.
  11. Gummy candies – think bears and worms – many have gelatin.
  12. Candy corn – some contain gelatin. Check the package.
  13. Marshmallows – More gelatin. Wah. I adore Dandies Vegan Vanilla Marshmallows, though – they’re a seriously tasty alternative.
  14. Rice Crispies Treats. Store-bought or homemade, they’ve got marshmallows in them.
  15. Frosted Mini Wheats. Gelatin. Seriously.
  16. Tortillas – check the package carefully or ask at your favorite Mexican restaurant, as some contain lard.
  17. Refried beans – many versions (think fast food or non-vegetarian canned refried beans) are made with lard.
  18. Baked beans – most baked bean recipes start with bacon or a ham hock. This one, however, does not!
  19. Split pea soup – just like baked beans, most start with a ham hock. Here’s a version with a veggie option.
  20. Jiffy cornbread mix – cornbread, you say? Yup. Some have lard in them.
  21. Hostess cupcakes – more lard, that sneaky jerk.
  22. Pie crust – many are made with lard.
  23. French fries. They’re just potatoes, right?! Not so fast – check to make sure they haven’t been fried in animal fat.
  24. Parmesan cheese (and many other cheeses) – if you’re a vegetarian even partially for ethical reasons, Google “what is rennet” and you might feel ill. I know I did. (Disclaimer: I use many cheeses – including parmesan – in my recipes here on Kitchen Treaty, but I am very careful to choose cheese made with vegetable-based rennet. I am so pleased to see, for instance, that most Tillamook cheeses use vegetable rennet.) Update: I have since learned I am lactose intolerant, so I don’t eat cheese anymore! If you’re on the fence or avoiding cheese, this post might help.
  25. Pad Thai – hey, I ordered it without the chicken so it must be vegetarian, right? Not so fast. There’s something fishy in traditional Pad Thai recipes – fish sauce, to be exact.

Read more

Are you a vegetarian who has been taken by surprise by a “gotcha” food? What was it?


The 30 Healthiest Foods You Could Ever Eat

These picks have major nutritional payoffs. Here's all the good they're doing your body&mdashand exactly what you should make with them. You can thank us later!

Mushrooms are full of nutritional benefits and can make a great stand-in for meat in vegetarian dishes because of their complex, savory flavor and firm texture. Additionally, mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D (a nutrient many of us are deficient in) and one of the only types of widely available produce that contain significant amounts of selenium. The latter, according to WebMD, helps prevent cell damage. Many varieties are also thought to have immune-boosting and anti-cancer properties.

Barley is a grain full of fiber, so it's digested more slowly by the body than more refined grains. It's also thought to help lower blood pressure and keep blood sugar levels stable.

Whole grain pastas contain far more fiber and nutrients (like iron and protein) than the traditional semolina type. Make sure you look for packages labeled "whole grain" rather than "multigrain." Multigrain pastas might be made of grains and flours other than semolina, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily in their whole (and healthiest) form.

Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol (HDL) in your body. If you choose not to eat animal food products that provide these essential fats (like fish), walnuts are an excellent alternative. Walnuts also contain antioxidants, which can help protect against free radical damage, as well as protein and fiber.

Nut butters are an excellent source of healthy, unsaturated fats. They're relatively easy to make at home in a food processor&mdashthat way you can guarantee you get the freshest, tastiest product without any unwanted preservatives or additives.

Quinoa is technically a seed, but it cooks and tastes like a grain. It's ideal for salads&mdashwarm or cold&mdashand can be used in soups, as a pilaf-like side dish, or formed into patties to make homemade veggie burgers. And because it's a complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids), it's an excellent ingredient to use in vegetarian dishes.

Olive oil is an amazing source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, may lower overall cholesterol in the body and lower the risk of heart disease. It's easy to cook with, or you could drizzle it on salads and soups. It can even be a deliciously complex addition to classic desserts.

Eggs have long had a bad rap as a high-cholesterol food, but that description doesn't give consumers the full story. According to a March 2013 article in HuffPost, researchers now know that dietary cholesterol and blood level cholesterol have very different effects on the body, and a recent scientific study even showed that eating whole eggs actually seemed to increase the level of good (HDL) cholesterol in the body. Additionally, eggs (and egg yolks specifically) are one of the best food sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which is thought to reduce inflammation in the body and improve neurological development and function.

Salmon is a fatty fish, and in this case, fatty is a good thing. Salmon is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which, among other things, can keep your skin healthy and glowing and even give your mood a positive boost. If you can, opt for wild-caught salmon as opposed to farm-raised&mdashit contains fewer toxins and isn't usually grain-fed.

Sweet potatoes are packed full of beta-carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A and use to protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as chronic conditions caused by inflammation in the body, like rheumatoid arthritis. The beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes can also help to manage and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Best known as a good source of vitamin C, oranges are a go-to food when your immune system needs a little boost. Vitamin C is also thought to stimulate collagen production (a reason it pops up in so many skin creams and products), so eating lots of oranges could help keep your skin looking smooth and supple, too. In addition to their high vitamin C content, oranges also have other good stuff like folate, potassium, and vitamin B1.

According to the Mayo Clinic, red beans like kidney beans&mdashcommonly included in chili recipes&mdashare a great way to get your daily doses of iron, phosphorous, and potassium. And as an added bonus, they're low in fat and high in other good things, like fiber and protein. That means they'll keep you fuller longer.

Kale is a superfood. According to WebMD, this hardy green vegetable, which is a member of the cabbage family, can lower cholesterol and cancer risk. It's low in calories, like most vegetables, but is also a good source of a whole range of essential nutrients, like calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, copper, and fiber.

Much like kale, chard is a hardy, leafy green that's chock full of nutrients. Loaded with essentials like calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, B vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene, Swiss chard comes in many varieties, but has a very similar flavor to beet greens (the two veggies are in the same botanical family).

Greek yogurt is here to stay. You can serve it with fruit and honey for breakfast, use it to replace other fats in baked goods, or make a sauce for your protein of choice. However you enjoy it, keep eating it: The stuff's full of probiotic bacteria that promote good digestive health&mdashplus, it has more protein than other yogurt varieties.

This ubiquitous green vegetable has a secret: Though oranges are a go-to for a healthy dose of vitamin C, a serving of broccoli has nearly a whole day's required amount of the vitamin, about 80 percent. It's also a good source of vitamin K, which the body needs for normal blood clotting and for developing strong, healthy bones and cells, as well as calcium and potassium.

Cabbage is a cruciferous veggie with few calories, no fat, and huge amounts of good-for-you nutrients. It's got small amounts of essentials like vitamin C, calcium, and fiber, and some varieties (savoy and bok choy, specifically) are good sources of beta carotene. That's an all-important antioxidant that the body can convert to vitamin A and use to boost your immune system and protect against heart disease and cancer.

Almonds are a nut you should stock up on. They're packed with so many nutrients: fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium.

We generally think of oranges as the fruit to eat when you're in need of a little boost of vitamin C, but per serving, kiwis have about twice as much of the vitamin as oranges. They are also an excellent source of potassium and phytonutrients. As an added bonus, the recipe below includes blueberries, another little fruit that's packed full of antioxidants.

Black beans&mdashlike most varieties of beans and legumes&mdashare high in protein and dietary fiber. They're also a good source of antioxidants, phosphorous, iron, and the mineral magnesium, which the body needs to keep nerves and muscles functioning.

Avocados are mild and creamy, making them perfect for adding to all sorts of dishes. They're also high in healthy, monounsaturated fats that seem to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost the good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. Avocados are also a good source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, as well as vitamin K, vitamin E, lutein (which helps protect the eyes), potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure), and certain B vitamins.

The allium family of vegetables includes aromatic staples like onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and scallions. Some of the compounds contained in these vegetables&mdashwhich give them their distinctive, pungent odor&mdashare also what make them so good for you. They're a good source of allyl sulfides and saponins, which are thought to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and even hinder or prevent tumor growth. These vegetables also contain antioxidants called quercetins, which are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that are crucial for anyone with inflammatory or auto-immune disorders like arthritis.

Those little fish might not look like much, but the humble sardine is a nutrient powerhouse. Rich and flavorful, sardines contain lots of good stuff&mdashlike omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12&mdashand also have less of the bad stuff, like mercury, often found in larger varieties of fish.

It's no secret that oatmeal is full of fiber, but you might not know just how much this food can do for your health. Oats are thought to lower inflammation and bad (LDL) cholesterol, as well as help guard against high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.

Edamame are soybeans, and they're most often served simply boiled and salted&mdasha great way to snack on them. They're also easily tossed into stir-fries, thrown on top of salads, puréed and eaten on their own, or mixed into dips, like hummus. However you cook them up, these little beans have a big nutrition benefit they have just under 10 grams of dietary fiber per 1/2-cup serving, healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and about 11 grams of protein, according to WebMD, as well as some vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.


10 Surprisingly Healthy Snacks for Kids

These 10 snack ideas offer the perfect combination of fiber, protein and fat — a combo that's sure to satisfy and fuel your busy child.

Related To:

Photo By: FatCamera ©Christopher Futcher

Photo By: Ciaran Griffin ©(c) Ciaran Griffin

Photo By: Galina Ermolaeva

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

The Search for the Perfect Snack

Popcorn

Popcorn is a sure-fire hit with kids, and . it's a whole grain! Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack. Plus, it's endlessly versatile. You can transform air-popped popcorn with all sorts of toppings, including grated cheese, nutritional yeast or cinnamon and sugar.

Buy It: All-Natural Popcorn Kernels: Target, $2.49

Ice Pops

Ice pops couldn't be easier or more versatile to whip up. And when you make them yourself, you control exactly what goes in them. These Frozen Orange Pops deliver a helping of vitamin C and calcium to your child, courtesy of the main ingredients: orange juice and nonfat Greek yogurt.

Cookies

Here's the thing about cookies: You can make them healthy when you use the right ingredients. Whole-wheat pastry flour can be subbed for white flour in most cookies. Rolled oats add even more fiber. And in some recipes, like these Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes, you can replace some of the butter with applesauce to lighten up the saturated fat. Serve them with low-fat milk and you have a nutritious, balanced snack for your kids.

Buy It: Organic Rolled Oats: Nuts.com, $19.35

Peanut Butter

Natural peanut butter (the kind without added sugars and other kinds of fats) is a great snack option. It gives your kids protein and healthy fats, and pairs perfectly with apples, bananas, celery and whole-grain crackers or toast.

Buy It: Justin's Classic Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs: Amazon, $5.03 for 10 packs

Cheese

Cheese is super-flavorful and satisfying, and gives your kids protein and calcium. The key is making sure it's not in every meal and snack. But a cheese stick paired with apple slices or carrot sticks (or whatever fruits and vegetables your kids like) is the ideal power snack.

Buy It: Borden Extra Sharp Cheddar Snack Bars: Borden, $3.99

Pizza

Pizza is really just another take on a sandwich, and it can be a vehicle for healthy toppings like olives, sliced peppers, or pineapple and ham. Use whole-wheat English muffins or buy premade whole-wheat pizza dough and have your kids add their favorite toppings.

Chocolate-Dipped Foods

Want to make fruit and nuts extra appealing? Dip them in chocolate.

Buy It: Semisweet Baking Chocolate: The Vitamin Shoppe, $4.49

Grilled Cheese

Snacks don't need to be made from snack foods. Serving a sandwich (or half of one) can be a smart solution for snack time. Even grilled cheese can be a good choice when you use 100-percent whole-grain bread and add in sliced apples for extra fiber.

Crispy Rice Treats

The classic crispy rice-marshmallow-and-butter snack gets a health boost in these Puffed Rice Snowballs, thanks to added dried fruit and seeds. Use puffed whole-grain cereal to make them even better for your kids.

Buy It: Puffed Rice Cereal: Amazon, $3.64

Chips and Dip

A serving of pita or tortilla chips is really fine nutritionally &mdash it has filling fiber and can be a tasty vehicle for healthy dips, such as hummus, black bean dip or salsa.

Buy It: Stonyfield Organic Classic Yogurt Hummus & Multigrain Tortilla Chip Snack Pack: Stonyfield Organic, $2.29


#4: Peanut Butter

Humble peanut butter is not only something that works in items as varied as sandwiches and curries, it’s also a very healthy food. As long as you’re balancing peanut butter with a balanced diet, it is definitely a food that helps with your health, reducing the risk of diabetes and many other diseases.

The best part is that, for as filling as peanut butter is, it’s surprisingly cheap. It only takes a few spoonfuls to sate a pretty strong craving and a jar of peanut butter, found for just a dollar or two, contains a lot of spoonfuls.

We often buy peanut butter from the local food co-op, grinding it ourselves in their machine straight from the raw peanuts to our preferred consistency (chunky). Even though we usually have a big container of this stuff in the cupboard, we’re constantly going through it due to things like peanut butter spread across celery, mixed into Korean-style dishes, and also spread across tortillas and wrapped around a banana.

Here’s one of my favorite uses for peanut butter, something we have for breakfast on occasion on the weekends. These aren’t exactly healthy, but they make for a great treat once in a while.

Peanut Butter Pancakes

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup peanut butter (although I prefer chunky on sandwiches, smooth works better here)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, banking soda, and salt) in one bowl, then mix together the wet ingredients (buttermilk, peanut butter, egg, vanilla) in another bowl. Once the mixes are combined separately, add the dry mix to the wet mix and combine until the dry stuff is just barely moistened.

Heat up a large skillet (or a griddle, if you have one) and melt just a little bit of butter in there. Put about 1/3 cup of the batter into a circle shape in the butter, then wait until bubbles appear on the surface and the edges are dry. Flip it over with a spatula and wait almost as long on the other side. Serve! This makes about twelve pancakes.


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Why people pressure you

There are many different reasons why your friends and family pressure you into making poor eating choices.

While on the surface it may seem like they are trying to sabotage your efforts, much of the time the real reason is something entire different and random.

They may not not even realize what they’re doing is making things difficult for you:

For many families, food is love. The food itself can be a source of affection. How many times has your grandmother made something “just for you” because she knows you love it? They know that it’s a show of love.

Often your friends and family just want to spend time with you. Food is a social centerpiece in almost every culture. And in many holiday meals where the main focus is food, by saying “lets go get some pie,” they may really just want to sit and talk to you.

If you’re being pressured by the host of the party to eat more and more – it may be as simple as they don’t want quite as many leftovers after everyone leaves.

However, there can also be more selfish reasons.

If someone is failing in their own fitness journey, they may be dealing with envy, anger and guilt (even if it is subconscious) when they see someone succeeding. Seeing you fill your plate with meat and vegetables instead of macaroni and cheese and pie may be a reminder to them of their own personal failures. Even if they aren’t consciously thinking it, after watching you eat unhealthy, their failures don’t seem quite as bad.

They could also be trying to justify their extra piece of pie because hey, you are also having one. And if the super healthy person is having one, then it is okay, right?

Especially if you used to share your unhealthy eating habits, they may just want the “old person” back. Rather than better themselves, it’s easier to keep everybody else at their status quo!


Everything You Can Eat On The Keto Diet

That seems to be a sticking point for prospective dieters&mdashand for good reason. The ketogenic diet is heralded as one of the strictest eating plans around, but the fact that greasy, fatty strips of meat get a stamp of approval makes it feel sorta-kinda doable.

The whole point of going keto is to reach ketosis, a cult-y sounding name for the metabolic process that happens when your body uses fat instead of carbs for energy. To get there, you've gotta do the obvious: eat a whole lot of fat and little to no carbs. It's restrictive, but if you hack the the system just right, you can still create surprisingly delicious food&mdashlike taquitos and cookie dough bites. (These are our favorite keto recipes, by the way.)

This list is your ultimate guide to everything you can and can't eat when you go keto&mdashplus the foods you're allowed to spring for every once in a while. Keep it with you everywhere you go: to the grocery store, to restaurants, to book club.

Note this: When it comes to keto-approved foods, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg. Yes, it's suggested your meats are either grass-fed or cage-free and your seafood wild-caught. For produce, organic is recommended. That said, you will not mess up your chances of achieving ketosis by purchasing farmed or non-organic foods. Do what best fits your budget and goals.

And fyi, Regina Georges of the world: Go for the butter it's not a carb.